MPs’ Saudi Arabia visit was a waste of money

In 2015, Melissa Makokha died in Saudi Arabia days after complaining to her relatives about mistreatment by her employer. In 2017, a video of a Kenyan woman who looked distressed, battered and bleeding was posted on social media while she sought help.

In 2018, Njeri Mwaura, in another video on social media, complained of torture in the hands of her employer as Maria Mboga also lodged a similar complaint the same year.

These cases, no doubt, are symptomatic of a widespread problem affecting hundreds of house helps who seek greener pastures in Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East.

Touched by their plight, Parliament dispatched a group of MPs to Saudi Arabia to investigate the claims.

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But when the Labour and Social Welfare Committee, chaired by Ali Wario, returned home, it reported it neither heard nor saw any evil in Saudi Arabia. In other words, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, our girls are doing just fine.

It is clear MPs cut corners while preparing the report that their colleagues have flagged as shoddy. The document bears no minutes of meetings and lacks evidence the committee spoke or interviewed any of the victims.

In the face of numerous cases of torture of Kenyan house helps, the report trashes genuine complaints of mistreatment and insults the intelligence of Kenyans.

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Amid claims of mistreatment, long working hours, denial of food, confinement to sub-human quarters and confiscation of passports to limit movement, the report which gives Saudi Arabia authorities a clean bill of health, is unacceptable. It is insensitive to the trauma that victims and their families have gone through. This trip was a waste of taxpayers’ money.

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Saudi ArabiaMelissa MakokhaMistreatment